Monday, April 26, 2010

Daring Bakers: British Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

First of all, Happy Anniversary to me. This is my one-year anniversary of belonging to the Daring Bakers. I’ve baked everything from Milanos to marshmallows, and I’ve loved (just about) every minute of it. And I’d guess my neighbors have been pretty pleased as well.

Anyone that knows me knows I love food. I’ll try anything once. Not that I’m comparing British pudding to, say, roasted bone marrow…

…which I tried last week, when my equally food-adventurous husband decided to make it for us. Let me delay the story of my pudding to say a few words about roasted bone marrow.

No matter what it looks like, how uncomfortable it might be to dig gelatinous, fatty marrow out of the bone of a cow, it tastes good; paired with toasted French bread and a salad of sorts made of parsley, capers, shallots, and lemon vinaigrette, it’s salty, complex, and rich. I enjoyed it. There, I said it. I’d eat it again, but I doubt I’d order it at a restaurant, as there are so many other things I haven’t tried and food that I like a lot more than bone marrow. But I’ve tried it, and I’m glad to be able to make that claim.

So I suppose this month’s theme is fat, because my challenge is steamed pudding made with suet. Suet is the hard fat found around the kidneys of a cow or sheep. Before adding it to a recipe, it must be rendered.

Sifting the flour, salt, and baking powder…

Measuring the molasses…

The recipe I chose was a variation on a basic pudding recipe. I chose the ginger version, which instructed me to replace the sugar with molasses. My gut told me I’d regret that, but I was a good girl and I followed the recipe. (Oh, that good girl has GOT to go.)

The suet, after being in the refrigerator overnight, has the consistency of frozen butter.

Adding molasses, suet, bread crumbs, and ginger to the flour mixture.

Mixing in milk and egg.

All those years of collecting cake pans has paid off! (Too bad I don’t have the lid that goes with it.)

Since the pudding is to be steamed and I have no lid for my pudding mold, I cover it with parchment paper and tie it off with string. It reminds me of a piece of hard candy or taffy.

The paper gets trimmed and set onto an upturned bowl in a pan of simmering water.

Two-and-a-half hours later…

…it falls out of its mold, no problems.

It was late and I wasn’t up to making any kind of sauce or topping for it, so I saved it for the next day. Though I did sneak a thin slice off the bottom, because how could I wait 24 hours?!

Sadly, I was disappointed. Remember that gut feeling I had about the molasses for sugar? It just wasn’t sweet enough. And it was overcooked. But it smelled just like the brown bread from a can I remember from my childhood.

Though when in my childhood is unclear. Maybe we used to take it camping?

In the end I decided it wasn’t worth the extra time (and sugar – remember, I’m supposed to be eating foods low on the glycemic index) for a sauce, so I skipped it. Maybe I’ll moisten it up a bit by putting it in the toaster and adding butter. I mean, margarine.

So while this challenge wasn’t really a success in my view, I did learn how to steam cook, and I’ll definitely be trying my own brown bread sometime.

Steamed Suet Pudding

  • 100 grams/4 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 100 grams/4 oz. bread crumbs
  • 75 grams/3 oz. Caster sugar
  • 75 grams/3 oz. Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
  • )1 large egg
  • 6 -8 T cold milk

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.
2. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet.
3. Mix to a soft batter with beaten egg and milk
4. Turn into a buttered 1 litre/ 2pint pudding basin and cover securely with buttered greaseproof paper or aluminum foil.
5. Steam steadily for 2.5 to 3 hours
6. Turn out onto warm plate, Serve with sweet sauce to taste such as custard, caramel or a sweetened fruit sauce.

Spotted Dick - Add 75g/3oz. currants and 25g/1 oz. of mixed chopped peel with the sugar.
Syrup or Treacle or Marmalade Pudding – put 2 T of golden syrup, treacle, or marmalade at the bottom of the bowl before adding pudding mix.
My Fair Lady Pudding – Add finely grated rind of 1 medium orange or lemon with the sugar.
Ginger Pudding – replace the sugar with 100g/4oz. of treacle, and add 1/2 tsp. ground ginger.


  1. simply fantastic...all the pics are making me drool...

  2. pudding coming out clean of the bowl n tasting yummy too.... what a delight.....

    congratulations on your 1 yr anniversary...

    hope even i have happy experiences in the group... I made '
    Steamed Chocolate Pudding & Steamed Apple n Caramel Pudding for Daring Bakers April 2010 - My First Challenge'

    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  3. Sorry to hear you didn't like it but you do know how to steam now wonderful. Superb effort and lovely photographs. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  4. Very beautiful. You did a terrific job.

  5. Your photos are gorgeous! I love the shape of your pan. And you saved yourself a bunch of calories by that sugar substitution, so all is well!

  6. My exboyfriend use to order bone marrow flautas at this Mexican restaurant when we use to go out. My husband, upon telling him that, ate the marrow out of a pork hock I had stewed. He was so glad he tried it because he loved it. I did not try it. Hats off to you- you daring chick!

    Great job on the challenge!

  7. Truly adventurous on the suet. I'm not there yet, but working my way closer. When I first married, I usually worked with only proteins that had already been deboned, but I'm getting more adventurous with every tasty bite.

  8. I love the shape of that pan! Perfect for your British pudding, but it's too bad it didn't taste the way you were hoping it would. I have had those experiences too when trying to replace sugar. Sometimes it's just not as good. Nice job on the challenge though!

    Totally off the topic but I was just reading about a product called WheyLow for my mom who is a diabetic so she tries to eat foods low in the glycemic index. Maybe you could look into that. Supposedly it is low glycemic but has a 1 to 1 ratio as sugar so it's great for baking. You can type it into google and read more about it if interested.

  9. Thank you for the nice comments, everyone. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn't overcooked it. Next time I'll know.

    WheyLow is a new one for me. Thanks so much! I was just going through my low GI cookbook and getting frustrated with all the recipes calling for Splenda. I'll have to look for WheyLow so I can start eating some of what I'm baking!